Nationals rally to sweep Giants
WASHINGTON—The Washington Nationals came up with a unique way to win, picking up the game-ending run on a short-hopped throw to first in 1924 uniforms.
The NL East leaders completed a sweep of the San Francisco Giants last night, winning 6-5 when Adam LaRoche’s would-be, inning-ending double-play grounder with the bases loaded was botched by shortstop Brandon Crawford’s low throw.
“I was running as fast as I can—which isn’t very fast—but it was good enough to put a little pressure on him [Crawford],” he added.
It was throwback night in the nation’s capital, and the “Senators” topped the “New York Giants” with a two-run rally off Santiago Casilla (2-4).
Washington recovered from a four-run deficit and now has won four-straight and seven-of-nine.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore led off the ninth with a double to the gap in left-centre. Casilla then failed to barehand Steve Lombardozzi’s sacrifice—an error that put runners on first and third with none out.
Bryce Harper singled in the tying run before Ryan Zimmerman was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Michael Morse bounced into a forceout at home, and Zimmerman hoped against hope that the game wasn’t headed to extra innings when he saw LaRoche hit the grounder to second.
“Hopefully Adam’s fast enough. Well, actually, I know Adam’s not fast enough. Hopefully they mess up,” Zimmerman said with a laugh.
They messed up. The Giants got the first out at second base but Crawford bounced the relay—and first baseman Brandon Belt couldn’t come up with it.
“Those are the things that have happened to us this year,” Zimmerman noted.
“We’ve had some opportunities and we’ve caught some breaks, and more importantly we’ve taken advantage of those breaks, and good teams do that,” he reasoned.
Harper scored on the play and the Nationals ran onto the field pretending as if they were deer—a pre-planned celebration for any sort of game-ending play by LaRoche.
“I was going to shoot them with my bow,” LaRoche said. “I think I got one before I got tackled.”
Tyler Clippard (2-2) pitched the ninth to get the win for the Nationals, who scored 24 runs in the three-game series.
The home team went all-out to recreate the nostalgia of the ’24 World Series, even though the game didn’t feature both of the cities nor both of the franchises from the series the Senators won in seven games.
The Giants moved to the West Coast in 1958 and that version of the Senators (also called the Nationals) bailed for Minnesota in 1961.
The current Nationals are the former Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington in 2005.
Still, it was a treat to see the Giants wearing the old pinstripe caps with the stylish NY logo and the Nationals sporting a straight W instead of a curly one.
Fans received an old-fashioned “official score card” from the “Washington Base Ball Club.” The players wore stirrups and the grounds crew donned suspenders.
Charlie Brotman, the P.A. announcer for two Senators’ franchises, was back at the microphone while the scoreboard showed replays in black and white.
The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch came from Game 6 of the ’24 Series.
Throwing it from the first row of the stands was Hank Thomas, grandson of Game 7 winner and Hall of Fame pitcher “Big Train” Walter Johnson.
Elsewhere in the NL, Miami blanked Milwaukee 4-0, Pittsburgh beat Houston 2-0, Atlanta dumped Chicago 7-3, New York topped Philadelphia 6-5, St. Louis downed Colorado 6-2, L.A. upended Arizona 4-1, and San Diego edged Cincinnati 2-1.